Chelsea may well get their transfer ban lifted before this coming January transfer window. And if they do, Chelsea coach Frank Lampard will be looking at strengthening his young squad.
The Blues have already confirmed their interest in signing wingers with the likes of Willian and Pedro both in their 30s. Players like Wilfried Zaha and England star Jadon Sancho are the names in the headlines, but, should Chelsea be looking at Ajax superstar Hakim Ziyech?
The Moroccan international is an incredibly talented footballer and plays either off the right-hand side or through the middle. Chelsea will know the capability that he has from dead-ball situations, after he set-up two goals and scored from a tight angle in the thrilling 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge this season. Last season saw Ajax lose two of their key players in the summer with Matthias De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong moving to Juventus and Barcelona. But no-one took the chance to sign Ziyech in the summer and was a vital performer in Ajax’s fairy tale Champions League run last season.
He is a proven player at the highest level and performs consistently in the Champions League and at the age of 26, he is more than capable of playing at another elite club in Europe. For a player of his quality, his reported release clause was £25m, and that was quickly revolted when Ajax handed the 26-year-old a new contract. Now, if you are looking to prize Ziyech away from Ajax, you will be looking at spending above £50m. Most football fans first heard of the Moroccan last season during Ajax’s sensational Champions League run where Ziyech was instrumental for the Dutch side. But how is he performing this season?
Ziyech Stats this season
In the Dutch league, he has managed to score five goals from the right-hand side of midfield. For a midfielder that is an impressive goal return as he most known for providing goals and so far has seven assists in the league. Ziyech is a creative player and if he can move to a club who suits his style, he will get an abundance of assists. His goals and assists work out to a goal involvement every 73 minutes when he is playing. A statistic which is a very healthy return for a player from midfield.
Also, it isn’t just the league that he has proven his quality. In the Champions’ League group stage this season he has managed one goal and three assists, two of which came at Stamford Bridge.
What he can offer
At the age of 26, he is relatively young and still has a lot to offer. He could easily fit into most top clubs starting XI’s as a player who is confident and is performing at a high-level this season. There is no question in regards to his talent, and the fact that he is performing very well in the Champions League and has done in recent seasons. This shows he has no issue of performing against high-level opposition as some would look to criticize the player if he is only able to play well in the Eredivisie.
If Ziyech signed…what would happen?
Should Chelsea football club fork out 50-60m to sign the creative Moroccan? We know Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is looking to bolster his squad if the transfer ban is lifted in January. There is confirmed interest from the club that they want to sign a winger, given that they have been linked with Zaha and Sancho. Out of those two names, most Chelsea fans would prefer to sign Sancho because of the age and he would fit into Lampard’s current philosophy of embedding young English stars in his squad. The main reason why Chelsea are interested in a winger is solely that they play in a lot of competitions during the season.
Also, the pedigree of Chelsea, you need four top-class wingers to compete in all competitions. As it stands, the Blues have Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic who are seen as the future of Chelsea football club. The other two options on the wing that the club have is Willian and Pedro. Willian has been a stand out performer in Frank Lampard’s team this season and will be looking at renewing his contract before next summer.
On the other hand, Pedro has been given little game time and at the age, he is of 32, his chances won’t be improved as the season goes on and it seems he is surplus to requirements. Ziyech could easily replace one of them two players and if Chelsea were able to sign players in January, he would prove to be an exceptional signing which would improve the Chelsea squad massively.
One signing would give Lampard an attacking conundrum
If you look at the attacking trio who are playing regularly and exclude Pedro. Willian can’t be dropped at the moment as he is one of Chelsea’s brightest players in recent matches. Pulisic has endured a tough time at the beginning of his Chelsea career having to spend most of his time on the bench.
However, since Lampard has bought him into the starting XI, he has been influential on a regular basis. Mount and Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea’s two academy players who will 100% be in the clubs plans for the long-term. Mount has grown game after game and is one of the key cogs in the way Lampard wants to press the opposition from the front.
The good ethos and positivity that Lampard has brought in at Chelsea and the fact is there is healthy competition in each position. When you look at Hudson-Odoi and when he signed his new deal for the Blues, he was most likely thinking he will be playing all the time.
But, like I’ve said, Willian and Pulisic can’t be dropped because of how well they are playing. Imagine a high level winger like Ziyech were to come in, it will certainly frustrate players like Hudson-Odoi, Mount and Pulisic. Nevertheless, it would be a positive one as these crop of players will have to perform to the best of their ability to retain a place in Lampard’s side. For now, it all depends on the verdict of the clubs appeal to overturn the transfer ban. If the club are successful, Ziyech is an ideal signing which could be secured in January at the earliest.